Caloric restriction promotes beneficial health effects and prolongs lifespan in diverse species, from yeast to primates. Our group recently identified an evolutionarily conserved phenomenon that is directly associated with the aging process and can be reversed by caloric restriction. This phenomenon is characterized by a progressive dysfunction of the processing of microRNAs, in particular by decreasing the expression of Dicer in tissues responsible for the cell non-autonomous control of lifespan, among them, the adipose tissue. The mechanism by which caloric restriction affects the expression of Dicer in the adipose tissue has not been fully elucidated yet. In the present project, we will investigate this mechanism by means of different dietary interventions in mice. We will evaluate the processing of microRNAs in response to different paradigms of food restriction in vivo and we will correlate this parameter to changes in metabolic and biochemical parameters resulting from these interventions. We will therefore analyze mice subjected to caloric restriction protocols where the contribution of individual nutrients of the diet will be assessed. We will also study the minimum time required for the caloric restriction to promote changes in miRNA processing in adipose tissue. Thus we intend to understand how organisms modulate the aging process in response to changes in nutrition and define a biomarker that might be used to integrate the effects of caloric restriction in several species. We then intend to propose interventions that mimic the beneficial effects of caloric restriction and even dissociate the metabolic and behavioral requirements that often accompany self-restrained eating.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: